Where did the good men go? No, I’m not asking this in the context of relationships. The common question asked by lots of single women. I assure you ladies, there are in existence. Just stop looking for mangoes at the apple tree. However, that is a different conversation all together. I’m posing my question in relation to the silence that is ripping the fabric of society. Where did the good men go?
It’s been a couple of weeks since Todd Akin, Republican candidate for U.S. Senator from Missouri, made his controversial remarks on what he termed ‘legitimate rape’. If you missed that, Todd Akin on CBS news His comments were followed by a public outcry and the feeble attempt by the Republican Party to have him opt out of the race. The man will not be moved, however. My favourite response to his ludicrous and extremely insensitive remarks is by Eve Ensler, renowned American playwright, performer, feminist and activist. Eve Ensler Huffington Post Then there are the comments made by Jacob Zuma, South African president, that it’s “not right” for women to be single and that having children is “extra training for a woman.” Jacob Zuma The Guardian
There are a lot of challenges that women face whether they are a housewife in rural Kenya or a high flying executive in a fortune 500 company in New York. I guess the field has never been quite even since Eve ate the apple. Though I tend to think it was a mango (they are so delicious). We know the story. God finds Adam and Eve hiding and asks why? Well, long story short Adam totally blames Eve for his sin. Sound familiar? To most women, yes. We blame ourselves for not only our mistakes but those of others around us and even worse, allow them to blame us for their mistakes. It’s as though we have an in-built guilt machine.
I have not gone through rape and I certainly do not wish to. The thought alone makes my guts want to spill out. I honestly can only imagine the trauma that comes with it and for that to be compounded by the ever present guilt machine, is a horrific thought. Hence my anger at ignorant statements by Todd Akin and others like him. Where do the good men come in you may ask? Right here.
I believe in equal rights. Yes, women should be treated as equal players in the society and recognized for their immense contribution to the world. (I however, draw the line at men bashing.) If equity is to be a complete success, then men must be active participants. That’s why I ask, where did the good men go? A lot of men say they don’t agree with the discrimination against women yet are completely silent when it most counts. Women’s rights are mostly defended by other women.
Men are supposed to provide, protect and offer leadership. Women can do all those things too but that doesn’t mean they want men to slack off. There is a role that men are to play in the society: A role that cannot be usurped. I believe that if men stood together with their sisters, wives, mothers and all women in the world that are just like their sisters, wives and mothers, the road to equity would be shorter.
Good man, why are you silent when your friend gets that girl drunk and has sex with her when she’s out cold? Remember her confused face in the morning? Her terror as she got up to leave? Your friends laughed about it. How easy she was. Then they went out to try and score another one. You consoled yourself that it wasn’t rape. She knew what she was getting herself into. It’s rape. And you were silent. Good man, why are you silent when your boss is harassing your colleague at work because she won’t sleep with him? You say it’s none of your business, but it is. And you are silent. Good man, why are you silent when you know your neighbor beats his wife? You hear her screams every night. You turn up the music on your stereo. Even a 7.1 surround system doesn’t drown a conscience. Still you are silent.
It’s easy to look the other way when it’s happening to someone else. What happens when it’s your sister those guys raped? Or your wife or girlfriend the boss harassed? Or your aunt whose husband punched straight into the ER? Then it’s stops being trivial and easily ignored. Good men, you have got to stand up to the douche bags misrepresenting manhood out there. If you set the standards and enforce them in your realm of influence, the world may actually begin to be a better place. Simplistic and somewhat idealistic I know, but I believe it’s a step in the right direction. The war will not be won with half an army. Good men, speak. The world is waiting to hear from you.
To read more of Mwende’s writing go to The Purple Noise.